Deletion or mutation of a single gene may result in a specific disease. Sequencing of the human genome has led to huge efforts to identify and isolate specific genes involved in the etiology of various diseases, including cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and cystic fibrosis. During the past decade, a number of gene therapies have been developed to replace defective or deleted genes with normal, functional genes. While gene therapy holds great potential for the treatment and/or cure of various diseases, it is not without risk, as demonstrated in 1999 when a teenager became the first known person in the country to die as a direct result of gene therapy. The NGVL was established to support development of safe and effective gene therapies. As with conventional therapeutics, the safety of the gene therapies must be established prior to initial clinical trials in humans. These preclinical toxicology evaluations are typically conducted in rodents (e.g., rats, mice) and nonrodents (e.g., dogs, Cynomolgus monkeys), using the same vectors (e.g., adenovirus), dose route (e.g., intravenous bolus dose), and dose schedule intended for use in the initial Phase I and Phase Il clinical trials in humans. Southern Research Institute (SRI) has many years of experience in conducting preclinical toxicology studies in support of IND applications that were submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prior to initiation of human clinical trials. A list of studies conducted at SRI and used to support IND applications in the past 5 years is presented in the Research Design and Methods section of this proposal. This application presents a description of the facilities and expertise available at SRI that will provide an exceptional resource to the NGVL as a Toxicology Center. This application seeks support to establish an NGVL Toxicology renter at SRI. The funds will be used to aid interaction between the NGVL and SRI, including design and preparation of protocols for various NGVL sponsors. As soon as the protocols are finalized, SRI will develop costs to conduct the study and to prepare a final report. Studies will be costed on a case-by-case basis; costs for conducting those studies have not been included in the funds requested for establishing the NGVL Toxicology Center at SRI. A number of institutions, including the Gene Therapy Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), have indicated an interest in using the NGVL Toxicology Center at SRI to conduct preclinical toxicology studies of their gene therapy products; letters of support from these institutions can be found in Section J. In addition, a number of the faculty at UAB have agreed to provide further support to the NGVL Toxicology Center at SRI by acting as unpaid consultants; letters of commitment from these individuals can be found in Section K, Consultants.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Animal (Mammalian and Nonmammalian) Model, and Animal and Biological Materials Resource Cooperative Agreements (U42)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-CR-4 (01))
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Rosenblum, Daniel
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Southern Research Institute
United States
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